The Beauty of Creative Collaboration

10 Dec

It’s my last night in North Carolina. I am sitting in the black office chair for the last time. I have practically lived in this chair for the past three months.

I written over 90,000 words in this chair.

But I didn’t do it by myself. Never in a hundred lifetimes would I have dreamed I would have written a novel like The Wizard of God. 

The beauty of this book is that it is a collaboration.

It is the product of the stories of those who have been on a journey of looking for Jesus in the midst of some  religious road blocks, of those who have found themselves as beggars welcomed in to eat at the King’s table. It’s a story of people, coming together and discovering grace.

And that is my story, our story.

Thursday night I finally saw The Civil Wars in concert. I wrote the epilogue of the book the day before, and it was a wonderfully timed celebration.

The opening band, Milo Greene completely blew me away. I was expecting some singer songwriter dude, but it was a full band. Four lead singers, each of them with incredibly unique voices, all of them playing multiple instruments, switching on and off, intertwining, harmonizing, to create this melodic audibly mesmerizing sound.

I whispered to Becca,

“Man, each one of them could be a successful act on their own!”

But I was glad they were not.

In a world that makes art a competition, it is nothing short of a miracle to see talented people with different voices coming together to make create a diverse symphony.

And then came Joy Williams and John Paul White. Never have I been so glad of musicians joining together.

In all the reviews and articles I have read about The Civil Wars, the one thing that strikes every listener is the marriage of their voices. Listening, watching them is something very hard to describe.

It was spiritual, the way their voices carried, lifted and lowered, danced around each other, settled.

Pure magic. A wild blending of talents that turns into something so free yet so smooth.

Ah, the beauty of creative collaboration.

When we partake in such things, I am convinced we are looking through a peephole into the another Kingdom.

That’s it, isn’t it?

What we want. Why we get the shivers. What feels right. The happy ending.


Coming with our own voice, or own words, our own story, our substance one ingredient to make a delicious bread that will leave the world satisfied. 

To know we are part to a body. We all long for it.

So much of art (I could replace “art” with “my existence”) has been about selfishness, arrogance mixed with self-deprecation, some sort of weird creative person self-loathing-elitism. (seloathistim??)

We call it individualism, independence, other words that sound responsible and American. Yet we end up in misery when we try to go at life alone. We call it being a moody artist, survival of the fittest or whatever, yet we lose so much when we compare, compete, push aside people to try to succeed so we can see our names shine in a fading spotlight.

I don’t think that’s joy. I think that’s misery and loneliness.

Joy is knowing we are a part of the whole. A unique, beautiful part, but a part none-the-less.

Joy is knowing we need each other.  

It’s understanding we are all made of the same stuff, and the things about us that are different are not to be feared or hated, but celebrated and made into art.

It’s closing your eyes and being lifted by the sound of music and voices whirling into one, making sense of what emotions can’t spell out.

It’s sitting in a room with people and letting the spirit flow, letting each person bring a piece to a puzzle that’s larger than any one soul, to go on a journey that could never happen alone.

When I think back to my crazy three months writing a book in North Carolina, this is what I will remember, and smile.

3 Responses to “The Beauty of Creative Collaboration”

  1. Don December 10, 2011 at 10:20 pm #

    “Joy is knowing we need each other.” <–Beautiful

  2. Steve December 11, 2011 at 12:56 am #

    Amazing. Insightful. True. Beautiful. Good News. Heavens dinner table..

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